The Hanshin Tigers, the most loyal fans in Japanese professional baseball, have won their first Japan Series title in 38 years.
Hanshin swept the fellow Kansai team and Pacific League champion Oryx Buffaloes 7-1 in Game 7 of the Japan Series on Friday at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan. Hanshin, which swept the Orix in four games, lifted the Nippon Series trophy for the second time in franchise history and the first time in 38 years since 1985.
Hanshin, based in Japan’s Kansai region, has won the Central League (six times) and Nippon Baseball Federation League (four times) 10 times in its 87-year history, but has only reached the top of the Nippon Series once. This has led to comparisons to the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), who have a large and passionate fan base but have not won a championship in 32 years.
Ikinobu Okada, who took over as Hanshin’s manager for the second time this year, led the team to its first Central League title in 18 years and its first Japan Series title in 38 years.굿모닝토토
Hanshin took the lead in the top of the fourth inning on a three-run homer by foreign-born Sheldon Noiji, scored three more runs in the top of the sixth, and added one more in the bottom of the ninth. After starting Koyo Aoyagi, Hanshin’s pitching staff of Hiroya Shimamoto (relief), Masashi Ito (start), Takuma Kirishiki (relief), and Suguru Iwazaki (relief) secured the win.
After the win, the Hanshin players shared their joy by holding up Shintaro Yokota’s jersey with the number 24 on the back. Yokota was a former Hanshin player who passed away at the young age of 28 from a brain tumor in July of this year.
Appearing in the Japan Series for the third consecutive year, the Oryx celebrated last year, but lost to Jakarta Swallows in 2021 and Hanshin this year.